We offer a wide range of activities for all different ages and abilities. Half the day focuses on personal choice where campers can learn new skills and challenge themselves. The other half centers around creative cabin programs that are focused on fun and friendship! We also have camp-wide events like campfires, games, and talent shows!
Campers select two activities in which to participate throughout each week. We have a wide range of activities designed to promote teamwork, positive group play, and build confidence.
Each day holds different water activities designed to encourage a love of swimming and improve water skills and comfort. Typical activities include snorkeling, water polo, water games, and beach parties.
Step to the line, nock your arrow, fire at will! At CQE’s archery range, instructors provide basic skills and tips to help campers hit a bullseye. Learn about the history and technique of the sport, make your own quiver, and try your hand at target practice in this classic camp activity. Age restrictions may apply.
Arts & Crafts
Our Arts & Crafts program brings out the creative side of every camper. We offer a mix of traditional camp crafts (beading, candle making, bracelets, tie-dying), as well as new creative activities each summer. Join the fun and create crafts that stay with you all year long!
Canoeing is the cornerstone of traditional camp activities and is an invaluable skill to learn as a camper. The canoeing program consists of four levels progressing from basic strokes, to sterning, and advanced soloing techniques. The goal is to enable campers to be comfortable and have confidence in a canoe, whether on an extended trip in Northern Ontario or out for a leisurely paddle.
Musical Theatre is CQE’s drama program, with campers performing a play for the entire camp. Daily activities include improvisational games, theatre sports, and communication activities that increase confidence and self awareness.
This program serves as an introduction to timeless campfire instruments. Instruction includes learning the parts of a guitar or ukulele, basic chords and changes, and learning to play classic songs. There are opportunities to sing and play the bucket drum and other percussion instruments.
CQE offers four levels of flat-water kayaking. Level one focuses on straight line paddling and becoming comfortable in the boat. In level two, campers build more strokes into their repertoire and begin to learn bow rolls. In levels 3 and 4, campers learn advanced paddling techniques and advanced kayak rolls.
Art Lochead Sailing School
Sailing is consistently one of the most popular activities at CQE and consists of four levels. Level 1 (Crew) is designed to build confidence and comfort in a sailboat. Campers learn basic theory, knots, and sail with one of our experienced instructors. Level 2 (Mate) focuses on learning how to sail with a mate and introduces campers to steering and rescue techniques. Levels 3 and 4 (Mate-Skipper and Skipper) mix advanced sailing theory with how to skipper a boat in a variety of conditions.
Wilderness Pursuits (W.P.) is a must for campers who want to develop outdoor living skills and heighten their awareness of natural surroundings. Activities include fire and shelter building, outdoor cooking, understanding weather patterns, and environmental camping practices. Campers also learn fishing techniques and safety procedures about fish found in Georgian Bay.
CQE offers three levels that provide a different sailing challenge for campers. Level 1 orients campers with the basic windsurfing theory and time to become comfortable on the board. In levels 2 and 3, campers learn how to successfully maneuver in a variety of wind conditions. A size restriction may apply.
Every afternoon and evening is spent in activities with your cabin group. On the first day of camp, counsellors will get ideas from the entire camp for the types of activities they are interested in, and plan out a schedule accordingly.
Some common cabin activities are:
• Capture the Flag
• Rocky mountain baseball
• Frisbee Golf
• Canoe Bombs
• Gaga Ball
• Scavenger Hunts
• Initiative Games
• Drama Games
• Mission Impossible
• Jump, Twist or Dive
• Watermelon Football
• Beach Party
• Dock Games
• Kayak Tag/Relays
• Newspaper fashions
• Big Sibling/ Little Sibling
• Incredible Machine
On the first night, the entire camp joins together at Master Campfire to sing songs, meet the staff, and have a good time.
Camper Entertainment Night
Each cabin puts on a performance for the rest of the camp to display their creativity. Skits, songs, dances are among the performances that we see throughout the evening.
Big Day (2-week traditional session only)
On the middle Saturday of our 2-week sessions, the whole camp participates in a theme-day filled with heroes and villains, games and excitement, and a delicious outdoor BBQ for dinner.
Psychedelic Sunday (2-week traditional session only)
The middle Sunday at camp begins with sleep-in, followed by a big brunch to get everyone going for the day. We then take some time to think about the past week and the week to come at Reflections. The afternoon is filled with various activities throughout camp, followed by a theme dinner for the entire camp. We cap things off in the evening with Camper Campfire, where each cabin performs their favourite campfire song.
A fun-filled evening that begins with a wide range of games, activities, and dancing followed by a hilarious set of skits and performances by the CQE Staff.
Every Session at CQE concludes with our final campfire. It is a special night for everyone to gather together one last time and celebrate all of the memories and friends that were made over the course of the session.
Outtrip is an exciting and special aspect of the CQE experience. During each 2 week session, each and every cabin group goes on a camping trip in the surrounding. Trip options range from an overnight hike on Beausoleil Island for our youngest campers to a 5 or 6 day canoe trip for our oldest campers. Outtripping is a powerful experience for campers of all ages: it allows them to develop a deeper appreciation for our relationship with the natural world; it encourages teamwork, builds confidence and develops leadership skills.
Types of Trips
YMCA Camp Queen Elizabeth’s tripping philosophy is to provide trips that match the age and ability of the campers in the cabin group. The trips are progressive: younger campers head down Beausoleil Island for a hike, while our oldest cabins head out on a 6 day canoe trip (sometimes shorter based on cabin skill level, comfort and canoe route). There is no set arrangement for certain cabins to go on specific trips; trip destinations are determined on the first day of camp by our Outtripping Manager in consultation with each set of counsellors in order to create an age and ability appropriate experience. Learn More
• Tonch North, South and East on Beausoleil Island are common desitnations for our younger hiking or canoeing groups. If a cabin hikes to Tonch, much of their gear is transported by boat. The Tonch peninsula is a sandy spot with many comfortable tent spots and a gazebo great for taking shelter, eating, or fun activities. Tonch is a perfect destination for a first time or beginner overnight outtrip experience.
• Cedar Springs is designed as an introduction to overnight camping. It is located on Beausoleil Island, about a three hour paddle, making it a perfect location for our younger canoeing groups. Typically, campers will join another cabin and head to the south point of the island in a Voyageur canpes. Campers will have the opportunity to see a completely different landscape from CQE. A campfire and dinner are prepared for the campers for a memorable evening in the woods.
• McCrae Lake is about a two hour paddle northwest of CQE. The lake is a beautiful and pristine wilderness area free of cottages and motorized boats. This is an amazing location for campers to visit another part of the bay.
Musquash River and Three Rock Chute
• Located 12km north of Camp Queen Elizabeth the Musquash River was the site of a lumber mill back at the end of the 19th century. As you paddle up the mouth of the river, there are several campsites close to small sets of swifts that dot the river. Further up the river is Three Rock Chute, a beautiful set of rapids with large campsites nearby.
• The Bala trip is one of the options for our longer trips, which can be a 4-day to a 5-day trip, depending on the route taken. The trip starts in the cottage-country town of Bala, and follows the Moon and Musquash River through Go Home Lake and down into Georgian Bay. The trip is a mix of river and lake paddling, allowing older campers a more advanced camping experience.
• The Loop is another option for our longer trips. The route begins at camp and makes its way to the back of McCrae Lake. From there the trip passes through 6 Mile Lake, Gibson Lake and Musquash River and finishes at camp. This trip provides opportunities for campers to see different wetlands and wildlife unique to Georgian Bay and practice their portaging skills.
Massasauga Provinicial Park
• The trip takes place in Massasauga Provincial Park is located just south of Parry Sound, and comprises a group of small lakes and islands on the coast of Georgian Bay. Windswept pines and rocky shores make this trip an ideal experience for any camper interested in exploring.
Food on Trip
The food that is prepared on trip is largely dependent on the length of the trip. Perishables (meat, fresh fruits and vegetables) are used on the first few days of trip, and non-perishables (dehydrated foods, grains, pasta and canned foods) are used more as the progresses. Portion sizes are adjusted to fit the age-group on trip. Since the group must carry all of their food, there is of course a limitation on the amount of food that can be brought – meals are selected that will provide the energy needed to sustain a high amount of activity throughout the day.
Prior to each outtrip, staff will review the necessary skills to ensure campers feel prepared for their trip! Each trip will have, at minimum, two trip leaders to guide the campers through their outtrip. Appropriate gear is essential in ensuring a camper has a positive trip experience so please review the trip specific packing list here. We encourage families to discuss the outtrip experience with their campers to ensure they are emotionally prepared as well.